How would you like to be Theo Walcott? You're a teenage sold for big money from Southampton to glamor club Arsenal. Later that year you're chosen out of the blue by Sven Goran-Ericksson to play for England at the 2006 World Cup, despite limited experience on the international stage -- a move lampooned across the globe.
From there you drift in and out of the headlines and show occasional flashes of brilliance for Arsenal, all the whole fighting off whispers in the background.
After all that frustration, It's got to feel pretty good for Walcott today, after he scored three goals in England's surprising 4-1 smashing of Croatia in 2010 World Cup UEFA qualifying. Wayne Rooney broke his mini-drought with a goal himself and played a hand in all of Walcott's efforts.
It was Croatia's first loss in 35 qualifying matches at home. Make no mistake, this result came straight out of the blue, as Croatia coach Slaven Bilic boasted how he'd claim England's scalp twice in the qualifying process.
The interesting thing will be how the English press takes this one. The Three Lions came into the game at a pretty low ebb, with few journos giving them any chance whatsoever. Meanwhile, the England public growing distaste for the players themselves might have been at an all-time high.
Now, after a thorough beatdown of a team that edged them out in 2008 Euro qualification, will the press go crazy? (This is the same country that popularized a song after Michael Owen for his ownage of Germany a couple years ago.)
My guess is the press reverts to its usual pattern -- Build them up, tear them down, rise, lather, repeat.
Elsewhere around Europe Wednesday, Germany got three from Miroslav Klose to deny Finland maybe it's best all-time result, finishing 3-3 in Helsinki. France got back on track with a 2-1 home win over Serbia, same thing for Scotland with a gritty 2-1 win over Iceland at Hampden Park.
The biggest surprise comes in the form of Denmark going to Lisbon and stealing a 3-2 victory over Portugal. Stealing, because all three Danish goals came in the final eight minutes of the match.